Moving to Spain: permits and “the golden visa”

Now is a great time to buy property in Spain if you’re looking for a vacation home or planning a permanent move. Through the end of 2014, the average price of a home remained 30% below rates at the start of 2008, with prices in the trendier tourist areas as much as 70% below their peak. That said, the market is showing signs of life, which means this might also be a good time to invest in Spanish property. Regardless or your reasons for buying, you’ll want to make sure you do plenty of research and hire trustworthy agents to ensure that you find the property you want at the best possible price.

If you are a national from another EEC (European Economic Community) country, then you already have the right to move to and work in Spain. However, you will need to acquire a residency card if you are retiring to Spain, moving to Spain and not working, or are a non-EU dependant of an EU national. If you are from outside the EU, you will need to apply for a residence visa in order to immigrate to Spain, and a work permit if you want to work there. The most common types of visa are:

  • Resident Visa to Retire in Spain – This visa allows you to live in Spain without working. You will need a valid current passport, proof of adequate financial resources to live in Spain without working, a medical certificate from your doctor verifying that you do not suffer from contagious diseases, drug addiction, or mental illness, and a fee of $38 to $160, depending on your nationality.
  • Resident Visa to Work in Spain – To get a working visa, you will first need to be hired by a Spanish company. They will contact the Spanish Immigration Office to request a letter approving your work permit and residency visa. When applying for your visa, you will need this letter, a valid passport, a Police Records Certificate from the country you currently live in, a medical certificate, and a fee of $38 to $190, depending on your nationality.
  • Residence Visa for Investors or Self-Employed – You can acquire this visa if your source of income will not involve being hired in Spain. In addition to the application forms, you will need a valid passport, a Police Records Certificate, a Medical Certificate, evidence of proper degree or academic title if necessary for your work, evidence that you are financially sound, and a work or investment project document showing the type of business you will conduct, projected gains, and positions to be created (if applicable), as well as a list of the authorizations and permits required to conduct your business.
  • The famous Golden Visa: Law 14/2013, of the 27th of September 2013, on support for entrepreneurs and internationalisation introduces in articles 61 through to 67 the conditions that have to be met by non-EU investors to qualify for Spanish residency. The law distinguishes clearly between residency visas and residency permits. This law allows non-EU investors to qualify for the highly coveted so-called Golden Visas. To summarise, this new law enables non-EU nationals to attain qualified residency permits in return for investing in Spanish real estate (and other assets), leading to permanent residency in Spain if certain conditions are fulfilled.